No Escape review: Sun-kissed mystery thriller is worth the trip
📺 Where to watch No Escape: Paramount+ from 18 May
⭐️ Our rating: 4/5
🍿 Watch it if you liked: The Beach
🎭 Who's in it?: Abigail Lawrie, Rhianne Barreto, Jay Ryan and Sean Keenan
⏰ How long is it? 7 x 60 minute episodes
📖 What’s it about? When a yacht is found adrift in the seas around Queensland, Australia - the galley fully stocked with plenty of food and everyone's personal items but with nobody onboard police launch an investigation.
No Escape opens with a boat still haunted by the ghosts of those who chose to abandon her, congealed meals sit unfinished, and waves gently lap the hull of this deserted vessel.
Overhead, a search and rescue helicopter circles turning this tranquil scene into something more sinister, while below decks country singer Patsy Cline serenades a single police officer as he searches for signs of life.
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Adapted by Kris Mrksa (White House Farm) from Lucy Clarke’s best seller, this Paramount+ original plays out across multiple timelines and consistently gains momentum across multiple episodes.
In the opener of this 7-part series, audiences are quickly introduced to Lana (Abigail Lawrie) and Kitty (Rhianne Barreto), two twenty something best friends backpacking across south east Asia.
Those early episodes intentionally distract from the drama by using real-world locations, which dazzle with their natural beauty. As Lana and Kitty immerse themselves deeper into this new culture, so too do their vicarious audience, as essential flashbacks interlink with present day developments providing essential back story and the occasional dramatic puzzle piece to keep viewers engaged.
The how, when, and why of No Escape gives away too much – but suffice to say that when Lana and Kitty meet Aaron (Jay Ryan), Shell (Colette Dalal Tchantcho), Denny (Sean Keenan) and Joseph (Narayan David Hecter), this series really kicks up a notch.
As crew members aboard The Blue, their dynamic alongside Lana and Kitty makes for a combustible dynamic, coloured by conflicting agendas, personal insecurities and lashings of sexual tension. Agendas burdened by self-interest, concerned with bags of cash, and blinded by wealth in the shape of uncut diamonds.
This is the central thrust of No Escape, which sees these temptations push people to their limits as greed and self-preservation strip them of morality. Lead writer Kris Mrksa conveys the powder keg claustrophobia between these characters, clinging to each other as their situation slowly escalates to a point of no return – before some terminal choices send everything into freefall.
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As The Blue and its crew begin pointing fingers, casting aspersions, and cracking under the pressure of local law enforcement and hostile third-party interventions – No Escape ups the ante even further as Australian authorities start viewing this abandoned vessel as a murder scene.
This elevates this series into the upper echelons of top tier television but ensuring audiences will stay tuned until the bitter end.
No Escape is streaming on Paramount+ as a box set from 18 May.